Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Sunday was a perfect day for a run in Epsom. Overnight rain had cleared the snow and for the first time in over a week the sun was shining. But unfortunately I wasn't running. One of the many, many joys of having children is the eternal cycle of illnesses that you seemed to get. After a week of having Baby and Toddler Trihard coughing in my face I finally succumbed to my third illness of the year. That's right, my third virus and we're still not out of January.

Berocca isn't working, time for a new approach in helping the immune system
 While I had a slight tickle developing I made it to the swim and core session on Saturday morning. While the core session is never easy (using your own bodyweight to build up strength and I'm weightier than most) I found I was struggling a bit more than usual. I put this down to the fact we'd had a particularly gruelling swim session, doing a lot of resistance training (using paddles, pull buoys and the added joy of T-shirts) and Baby Trihard had been awake a couple of times during the night. However by late afternoon the tickle had developed more into a chesty cough and I was beginning to feel rather rough.

While I was disappointed to be missing out on the first event in the EGTC Winter GP I decided it wasn't worth pushing myself and making the illness worse. While I am feeling considerably better today the cough still hasn't abated. I had promised myself that I would have a whole week from training but I'm already getting fidgety. I know from bitter experience that exercising when not feeling 100% can prolong the illness but as you know I don't always do the sensible thing.

And in case you wondering about the title of today's blog it stands for Did Not Start. Usually these are the three letters you see beside your name once the results are in and you didn't show. However the organisers of The Perch have spared me this embarrassment.  WTF?!

Friday, 25 January 2013

A worthy cause

Since I first got into this fitness lark I have done a few events in the name of charity. This has involved an eight mile run, a 10k and a half marathon. However one member of the triathlon club is well and truly putting me to shame with a 120km trek across the Arctic this coming February. Absolute madness! Francine volunteers for Sussex Search and Rescue who are responsible for locating vulnerable people when they go missing. She and her SSR colleague will be braving -35 degree temperatures to raise £3000 for new search equipment.

Francine signed up to this incredible challenge last February and started doing triathlon just to get fit for the Arctic. After taking part in the club's "Try-a-Tri" she decided to join the club and is now "hooked on triathlon"!

Anyway, you can read all about it on the local  paper's website and if you want to donate to the cause you can do so here.

Winter wonderland

Last weekend my blushes were spared by the fact that Saturday's run, swim and core sessions were officially cancelled due to the weather. However I managed to get down to the gym and swim a few lengths and also ran home in the snow so my training wasn't too badly affected. And I did manage to get out on the sledge without breaking my leg.

Cool Runnings
Unfortunately the continuing winter weather meant that I wasn't able to make it to Tuesday's turbo training but I was a good boy and did the session at home. Anyway, enough about last week - this weekend it'll be business as usual in the pool but Sunday also sees the start of the East Grinstead Triathlon Club Winter GP. This is a series of events over the next months to give us competitive practice before the racing season officially starts. Ranging from timed swims to bike time trials it all kicks off with a 6.25 mile crosscountry run at Nonsuch Park in Epsom (known as The Perch and organised by Epsom Oddballs Running Club) and culminates with a Sprint Triathlon in April.

As well as creating a bit of friendly competitiveness amongst the club members it also helps to gauge progress made from one season to another. The end result of this is a club trophy awarded to the male and female who have given the best performance throughout the GP but also those who have showed the greatest improvement in cycling, running and swimming.

While I won't be troubling for the position of Top Dog in the Winter GP I'm hoping that I will have shown enough improvement in one of the three different disciplines to be in contention for one of the other awards but that's down to my fellow EGTC club members to decide. The campaign starts here!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Snow hope

So I made it to the Thursday night swim set last night and feel a lot better for it. As I result I even got up early and did the turbo training session that I didn't feel up to on Tuesday. Yes that's right, at 6.45am I was on the turbo trainer fuelled by just a cup of coffee - in your face Lance Armstrong.

However at the moment it looks like I won't be making it to tomorrow's swim/core/run session. Why is that I hear you ask? It's because of the snow. Actually if you've read the title of the blog post you probably didn't ask that question. Anyway I am a big kid at heart and having been subjected to tantalising pictures from around the country, that have made me green with envy,  the snow has finally made it to West Sussex. It started at 8.30 and after just three hours this is what the road looked like outside our house.

When it snowed last year, due to the fact that we live on a hill, cars were being abandoned outside our residence. With snow forecast throughout the night I'm not sure I fancy my chances driving the six miles to East Grinstead at 6am tomorrow, when it's highly unlikely that the roads will have been gritted. However I do plan to have a good run in the snow on my own tomorrow even if I can't do it with my fellow club members. That's unless I have broken my leg sledging this afternoon. Woohoo!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


So I'm feeling rubbish again. Obviously this time of year there are lots of bugs flying around but at the moment they all seem to be attracted to me. While I haven't been confined to bed it's been enough to prevent me from exercising since Saturday which is very frustrating. I therefore gave last night's turbo training a miss and will have to see how I'm feeling tomorrow for the Thursday's swim session.

While I haven't completely gone off the rails, my calorie counting has also been a little lacklustre, perhaps caused by the fact that we were away for the weekend so it was difficult to assess my calorie intake. Perhaps because I ended up drinking too much red wine on Saturday night.

I was aiming to make it through a bit more of January before I succumbed but c'est la vie. On a brighter note I've still lost around half a stone since the beginning of the year so need to try and keep my motivation levels up.

Anyway, seeing as next Monday is dubbed the most depressing day of the year - when most people have given up on their New Year Resolutions, don't have any money and still have two weeks until payday etc - the British Dietetic Association has put out some tips on how food can help boost your positivity at this depressing time of year.

1) Skipping meals leads to low blood sugar levels which can leave you feeling tired, grumpy and craving sugar.  Planning regular meals and small snacks will avoid these danger points in your day.  Choosing foods that have a lower glyacemic index will help fill you up and sustain your energy levels for longer as they your blood sugars stay stable.  Try adding beans and lentils to dishes, choose 'oaty' dishes like porridge or muesli and add a low fat yoghurt to your lunch.

2) Whole grain carbohydrates are not only lower in glyacemic index than the white versions but they increase the amount of tryptophan than enters the brain, resulting in more mood enhancing serotonin being produced. Include wholegrain bread, pasta, oats, and wholegrain cereals at meals, try adding pearl barley to soups and bulgur wheat to salads.

3) B vitamins play a vital role in energy release.  Therefore eating more of these will help improve your energy levels, lifting your mood.  121 Females taking a thiamine supplement reported improved mood, a clearer head, increased energy levels and better cognitive function.  Folate is another micronutrient that has been shown to be linked to mood through blood samples taken from 58 men.  Eating more green vegetables, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, almonds, strawberries, tomatoes and peppers will boost your thiamine and folate levels.  Wholegrain cereals are also fortified with these nutrients.

4) Iron is well known to be linked to fatigue and low energy.  It's lesser know that there is also a link to poor mood and concentration.  Topping up your iron will boost that feel good factor.  Include red meat, dried fruit, green vegetables and wholegrains in your diet.

5) The Mediterranean diet contains plenty of fruit, vegetables nuts, fish, olive oil, cereals and some red wine.  Eating these foods is associated with better mental health scores.  So making sure you are meeting the 5 a day recommendation for fruit and veggies, go wholegrain with your cereals and sticking to healthy fats such as olive oil, oily fish and nuts really can work.

So I hope you took note of all those interesting titbits. Guess it's time for some more red wine.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

All you can eat

This week has been rather a busy one. As you may have noticed this has meant that the blog hasn't been updated as regularly as I would have hoped over the last week. Getting back to work after the Christmas break is always pretty hectic but on top of this I've had a touch of man flu while Toddler Trihard and Baby Trihard have formed a highly effective tag team to ensure we don't go more than two hours of getting uninterrupted sleep. Sleep deprivation really brings joy to my heart, much like a grizzly bear being woken from hibernation, so as you can imagine I've been an incredibly cheery soul this week.

And what's for the main course?
Anyway this week's main headline is that I have already successfully dropped a few pounds as a result of limiting and monitoring my calorie intake with My Fitness Pal. It hasn't been quite as tough as I thought it would be however I did face a major challenge when we had a get together which featured a rather impressive buffet. There is nothing I like more than having access to pretty much unlimited food. Also this particular buffet featured several pizzas which would be my desert island food. I freaking love the stuff. I was extremely restrained, only having two slices as well as a few other nibbles, but when I totted up my calories afterwards it made me realise how loaded with excess buffet food is. I did read the other day that some pizzas contain a wine glass of fat in them. Artery bustin' tasty! It was soup for me that night to make up for the damage.

In terms of exercise, while I made it to the EGTC Saturday swim set I gave the core session and run a miss as I was starting to feel under the weather. I then rested until Tuesday which then left me feeling well enough to attend Tuesday's Turbo session which was the dreaded heart rate monitor test. This involved cycling at the hardest sustainable effort for 25 minutes, after a warm up, which was a real killer. I then made it out for a 5km run yesterday which wasn't the most pleasant experience following the previous day's exertions but was the first run since New Year's Eve jaunt with Smug Running Guy.

Unfortunately SRG received some rather disappointing news from his Dr this week (on his birthday no less!). He has got some soft tissue damage on his foot (I've been telling him he's a softy for years) so has got to take around a month off the running to recover. So here's wishing SRG a belated happy birthday and a speedy recovery.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Start as you mean to go on

Happy New Year everybody! Hope you all enjoyed your Christmases and saw in 2013 in style. The Trihard household hosted a party which saw Smug Running Guy in attendance so we finally got to have a run together. If you recall we had planned to do this when he last came to see us in November but unfortunately some overindulgence the previous day put us out of action. This time round we did the sensible thing and did the running before the partying. Unfortunately the weather wasn't as kind as it had been on Boxing Day which made for a rather wet, muddy run.

After my exertions on Boxing Day, and a 5km time trial with EGTC on Saturday, I have to confess that I struggled a bit on the hillsbut it was good to burn off some calories before the New Year's Eve blow out. So what are my goals for 2013? Essentially it's to get faster in all disciplines in triathlon but the overarching aim to achieve this is to lose weight. One of my Christmas presents was a heart rate monitor that I can use in the water so now I know exactly how much energy I use during each training session whether I'm swimming, running or cycling.

However the other part of the plan is to also monitor how many calories I stuff in my face. I know I burn off a lot of calories but it doesn't take a dietitian to work out (especially when you look at the photo of myself and SRG) that I'm consuming way more than I need.

If I lose weight I know that I can get a lot quicker without doing anything other than staying away from the cheese counter and chip shop. To put it bluntly I know that if I demonstrate a fraction of the dedication towards my diet as I do training then I will see a dramatic improvement in my performance.

To help me achieve this I'm using a clever little app called My Fitness Pal. You enter in your vital statistics, the amount of weight you'd like to lose over what time period. It then tells you how many calories you should be eating to achieve this, allowing extra for any exercise you do.

You then update it with everything you eat, it even has a handy barcode scanner as well as a recipe calculator so it doesn't matter whether you are grabbing a ready made snack on the go or cooking something at home so it's quite easy to keep track of calories. So as long as I can ignore the crisps, dips and other leftovers from the festive season I should be in business...